From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Newsline - Church of the Brethren weekly news update
Church of the Brethren News Services
02 Oct 1998 12:22:49
Date: Oct. 2, 1998
Contact: Nevin Dulabaum
V: 847/742-5100 F: 847/742-6103
Newsline Oct. 2, 1998
1) Hurricane Georges causes mass destruction in Puerto Rico and
2) Church World Service issues a plea for Gift of the Heart kits.
3) Brethren Volunteer Service celebrates its 50th anniversary.
4) Manchester College celebrates the 50th anniversary of its peace
5) A $25,000 grant for a Guatemalan project is allocated by Global
Food Crisis Fund.
6) Leadership for Annual Conference 1999 is announced.
7) A grant of $6,953 is allocated from Emergency Disaster Fund in
response to flooding in North Carolina.
8) On Earth Peace Assembly board convenes for its first meeting as
an official Annual Conference agency.
9) Leadership for the 1999 edition of Caring Ministries 2000 is
10) What's New is a new feature on www.brethren.org.
11) Gerald and Rebecca Baile Crouse have been called as mission
coordinators in the Dominican Republic.
12) Gloria Gochenour and Tom Benevento are assuming the
responsibilities of Latin America/Caribbean specialist for the
Church of the Brethren General Board.
13) Resources for National Donor Sabbath are available.
14) Information about this year's Young Adult Conference is
15) Information about next year's Christian Citizenship Seminar is
Feature 16) An update on two Church of the Brethren congregations
that were struck earlier this year by fire.
1) In response to the devastation of Hurricane Georges, Glenn
Kinsel, a retired volunteer for the Church of the Brethren General
Board's Emergency Response/Service Ministries, traveled to Puerto
Rico as soon as the storm had left the island. He has been working
with Juan Figeroa, pastor of Segundo Iglesia Cristo Misionera
Fellowship, near San Juan. Kinsel reported that over 300 people
lost their lives and 33,113 single-family houses were destroyed,
85,000 are without roofs and 27,066 others have major damage. Total
damage is estimated at $2 billion. According to Kinsel, an
estimated 200,000 families are expected to apply for assistance.
Kinsel is also expected to visit Castaner, which also was heavily
damaged. The Brethren movement has been present in Castaner for
years, and ER/SM expects to begin disaster relief projects there in
Meanwhile, reports from the Dominican Republic, another country
with Church of the Brethren presence, state that the damage is even
more far-reaching, including in an area where there are 13 Church
of the Brethren congregations. According to Jorge Rivera, associate
executive of Atlantic Southeast District, the situation is
"exceedingly serious;" financial assistance is needed.
Emergency Response/Service Ministries is creating a list of people
who are willing to volunteer in reconstruction efforts. For more
information, contact ER/SM at 800 451-4407. ER/SM also reports
work continues on projects in southeastern Ohio (rebuilding one
home and drywalling and other repair work on others); Alabama
(rebuilding six houses from the ground up); Florida (three houses
still need to be rebuilt); and Texas (a rebuilding project is being
prepared for the first of next year).
2) Church World Service has issued a plea for "Gift of the Heart"
clean-up and health kits for people affected by Hurricane Georges.
Clean-up kits include one bucket filled with sponges; one wire
brush; plastic garbage bags; one scrub brush; rubber gloves; and
one can of powder cleanser.
Health kits include one hand towel; one wash cloth; one new
bath-size bar of soap; one comb; one toothbrush; one tube of
toothpaste; six adhesive bandages; and one nail file. Wrap items in
a hand towel and tie together with a ribbon.
These kits are to be sent to the Brethren Service Center in New
Windsor in care of CWS, 500 Main Street, New Windsor MD 21776-0188.
All kits should be packed in sturdy cartons. Multiple kits may be
boxed together. Boxes should include markings to indicate the kind
of kits enclosed in the boxes. And, according to the CWS release,
a contribution of 50 cents per pound "will help speed the kits to
the people who need them."
3) The 50th anniversary of Brethren Volunteer Service will be
celebrated this weekend at the Brethren Service Center, New
Windsor, Md. More than 400 people are expected to attend.
Registration opens today at 3 p.m. and participants will be able to
learn of opportunities for continuing service from an exhibit area
of New Windsor-based Brethren ministries, as well as look at
displays on church history and BVS memorabilia dating back to the
1940s. Former BVSers can also pick up address lists of the people
who served in their orientation unit.
Tonight's kickoff banquet will feature a panel of past BVSers and
music by Barb Sayler and Shawn Kirshner.
Tomorrow's activities will include guided tours and the chance to
shop at the SERRV and Peace Place gift shops. An up-to-date video
of BVS will be shown four times throughout the day, and eight
insight sessions will be offered.
Saturday's keynote address will be delivered by Don Murray, a
former BVSer who is best known for starring in the television
programs Dallas and Knots Landing. A fellowship time will follow.
The festivities will conclude Sunday morning following closing
worship at the New Windsor Middle School.
Daily coverage of the BVS 50th will be posted on the official
denominational web site, www.brethren.org.
4) The 50th anniversary of the nation's first collegiate peace
studies program, which was started by Manchester College, North
Manchester, Ind., will be celebrated this weekend in conjunction
with the college's homecoming.
Established in the fall of 1948 by Gladdys Muir, the Peace Studies
Institute and Program in Conflict Resolution provides studies in
the understanding of war and peace, social change and conflict
Over the past five decades, the peace studies program grounded in
political science, sociology, psychology, ethics, religion,
economics and history has "defined issues, stimulated debate and
dissent and prepared students for roles of national and
international importance," reads a college release. "The program
has served as a model to more than 200 colleges and universities
which have developed peace studies as part of their curriculums."
In celebration of the anniversary, the college will construct a
Gladdys Muir Peace Garden, located at the northwest corner of
College Avenue and Wayne Street. Designed by Daniel Krall, a 1968
Manchester College graduate and an associate professor of landscape
architecture at Cornell University, the garden is intended to give
visitors the opportunity for relaxation and contemplation. A small
cottage, which stands adjacent to the garden, will be renovated and
refurbished as a gathering place in the interest of peace and
Also in celebration of the anniversary, the college this weekend
will host three symposiums, composed of all Manchester College
peace studies graduates, an international food festival, a concert,
and a keynote address by Oscar Arias, a Nobel peace laureate and
former Costa Rican president.
5) A $25,000 Global Food Crisis Grant was approved this week to
provide assistance to a grassroots project in Guatemala. Brethren
Volunteer Service worker Tom Benevento has been working in the
production of wood-conserving stoves and water-storing cisterns in
several highland communities. This grant will enable additional
families to participate in this ministry.
6) Leadership for the 213th Church of the Brethren Annual
Conference, to be held June 29 - July 4 in Milwaukee, has been
announced. The preachers and worship leaders, respectively, will
* Tuesday: Lowell Flory of McPherson, Kan. (Annual Conference
moderator); Emily Mumma of Duncansville, Pa. (Annual
* Wednesday: Nancy Faus of Richmond, Ind.; Barb Sayler of
* Thursday: Patrick Mellerson, pastor of Butler Chapel A.M.E.
church, Orangeburg, S.C.; Tom Hostetler, pastor of Bremen
(Ind.) Church of the Brethren.
* Friday: Linetta Alley of Bridgewater, Va., and Cindy Laprade
of Rocky Mount, Va. (winners of this year's National
Youth Conference speech contest); David Miller, pastor of
Roanoke (Va.) First Church of the Brethren.
* Saturday: Kurt Snyder, pastor of Roann (Ind.) Church of the
Brethren; Ataloa Woodin, pastor of Community Brethren
Church, Fresno, Calif.
* Sunday: David Radcliff, director of Brethren Witness for the
Church of the Brethren General Board, Elgin, Ill.; Manny
Diaz, Southern Plains District executive and part-time
General Board Congregational Life Team member,
Lake Charles, La.
Michelle Grimm of Onekama, Mich., will serve as music coordinator.
Serving as morning Bible study leaders (Wednesday through Saturday)
will be William and Sara Haldeman-Scar of Bakersfield, Calif.;
Eldon Krider, pastor of Union Center Church of the Brethren,
Nappanee, Ind.; Christina Bucher of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College;
and Vincent Rivera of Cicero, Ill. Serving as evening Bible study
leader (Tuesday through Friday) will be David Shumate, executive of
Virlina District, Roanoke, Va.
The first meeting of next year's Annual Conference volunteer
coordinators was held in Milwaukee on Sept. 19. Twenty-six people
were present, including lead on-site coordinators Carl and Doreen
Myers of Elgin, Ill.
In related news, the Annual Conference Office has announced that
the official form used for nominating people for Annual
Conference-elected positions is available. This nomination form,
which must be signed by nominees, is due by Dec. 4. For more
information, contact Kristi Rittle at firstname.lastname@example.org or at
7) A grant of $6,953 was forwarded to the North Carolina Council of
Churches on Sept. 18 from the Church of the Brethren General
Board's Emergency Response/Service Ministries in response to
flooding that hit the state earlier this year. The majority of the
grant, $6,576, was raised by Virlina District congregations.
8) The On Earth Peace Assembly Board, meeting for the first time as
an official agency of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference,
on Sept. 19 selected its executive committee for the year beginning
Oct. 1. That committee includes Dale Brown of Elizabethtown, Pa.,
chair; Fran Nyce of Westminster, Md., vice chair; Kathy Leininger
of Timberville, Pa., secretary; Matt Guynn of Richmond, Ind.,
treasurer; Eugene Lichty of McPherson, Kan., at-large; Wes
Lingenfelter, Altoona, Pa., at-large. The OEPA board also
recognized Sabra Staley, its only nonBrethren member who is
retiring after two terms, and Joe Detrick and Paul Roth, both who
have resigned from the Board effective Sept. 30 due to new
denominational responsibilities they've assumed.
During its meetings, the Board approved a 1998-1999 budget of
$370,000 and heard plans for Peace Academies for the 1999-2000
school year, 1999 Conflict Resolution Teams and the 1999 Joya
(Journey for Young Adults) Team, which will help OEPA celebrate its
25th anniversary from various parts of the country.
The Board also examined the areas in which the mission statements
of OEPA, Womaen's Caucus and Brethren and Mennonite Council for
Lesbian and Gay Concerns intersect. Joining this discussion were
Zandra Wagoner and Jim Sauder of Womaen's Caucus and BMC,
respectively. According to a release, the OEPA board and staff
"will continue to be in conversation with these and other groups
that desire to follow in the ways of Jesus Christ, Prince of
Peace." The release adds, "The board and staff affirmed that these
conversations are in harmony with recommendations of Annual
9) Leadership for the second biennial Caring Ministries 2000
conference, scheduled for June 1-4 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College,
has been announced. This event is intended for caregivers of all
kinds (health and caregiving professionals, deacons, counselors and
social workers, mediators, pastors and chaplains, Christian
educators, and others).
Sponsored by Association of Brethren Caregivers, the conference
will give attendees the opportunity for training with caregiving
professionals and lay people, earning continuing education credits,
networking with professional and volunteer care providers, and
spiritual renewal and fellowship.
Delivering keynote addresses will be --
* Philip Yancy, editor-at-large of Christianity Today.
* Melva Wilson Costen, professor of worship and music of
Interdenominational Theological Center.
* Barbara Lundblad, professor of preaching at Union
Theological Seminary, New York, N.Y.
* Staccato Powell, deputy general secretary for National
Ministries, National Council of Churches.
* Robert Raines, author and pastor of three United Church of
Christ congregations and director of Kirkridge Retreat
and Study Center.
* John Shea, religious scholar, teacher and author, who serves
as senior scholar-in-residence of Advocate Health Care
and research professor for the Institute of Pastoral
Studies at Loyola University, Chicago.
* Phillip Stone, president of Bridgewater (Va.) College.
Registration information will be available in November. For more
information, contact ABC at email@example.com or 800 323-8039.
10) "What's New" is a new feature of www.brethren.org, the official
web site of the Church of the Brethren. Located on the main home
page, this feature allows users to quickly learn of the various
updates that have been made to the site, eliminating hunting and
Web surfers who check out "What's New" today will see that six
pages have recently been added to the "Picture This" feature, a
section that features pictures from denominational life. Included
in these updates are pictures of Thursday's "Drop Off Day" for
participants of Brethren Volunteer Service Unit 231, and pictures
of moderator Lowell Flory with his buddy, Mack the Moose. Also in
"What's New" is the announcement that the Brethren Employees Credit
Union is now on the web site, and that there have been additions
made to the Brethren Benefit Trust and Brethren Volunteer Service
11) Gerald and Rebecca Baile Crouse, who since 1988 have team
pastored Antioch Church of the Brethren, Rocky Mount, Va., have
been called to serve together as mission coordinators in the
Dominican Republic. They will begin their duties in this shared
full-time position on Jan. 1.
Both Gerald, who speaks Spanish, and Rebecca have degrees from
Bethany Theological Seminary, Richmond, Ind. Both also have
previous overseas experience through Brethren Volunteer Service,
college internships and workcamps. They are parents to three
The Church of the Brethren General Board's Global Mission
Partnerships office "invites congregations and individuals to
become supporting partners for this mission family," said Merv
Keeney, director of Global Mission Partnerships.
12) The Church of the Brethren General Board's Global Mission
Partnerships office, which earlier this year announced a search for
a volunteer or part-time Latin America/Caribbean specialist,
announced last week that Gloria Gochenour and Tom Benevento have
begun carrying some functions of that position, both on an interim,
part-time basis. Specifically, they will facilitate
Spanish-language communication with the region, reactivate Brethren
Volunteer Service projects and renew relationships with church
"We are delighted to draw upon the abilities and commitment of
these two people to facilitate the important ministries in the
region," said Merv Keeney, Global Mission Partnerships director.
13) Worship and educational resources for National Donor Sabbath
weekend, Nov. 13-15, are available from the Association of Brethren
Resources include litanies, prayers and responsive readings,
scriptures and sermons gathered from the ecumenical community by
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ABC's End-of-Life
Decision-Making packet is also available for use as a study for
organ and tissue donation. This material is available through ABC's
website at www.brethren.org/abc/ or by calling (800) 323-8039.
14) "Looking in, reaching out" will be theme of this year's Church
of the Brethren Young Adult Conference, Nov. 26-28, at Camp
Swatara, Bethel, Pa. Glenn Mitchell, a certified spiritual director
who pastors University Baptist/Brethren Church, State College, Pa.,
will serve as leader, challenging attendees to "think about the
balance between growing in our faith and expressing our faith in
the social issues of today's world."
Cost is $80. For more information, contact Youth/Young Adult
Ministry Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800 323-8039.
15) The 1999 National Youth Christian Citizenship Seminar,
"Fragile: Handle with Care," will be held April 10-15 in New York
City and Washington, D.C.
"Humans have done more damage to the planet Earth during the 20th
century than all previous centuries combined," reads the brochure.
"More species extinct, more forests razed, more water polluted.
Will the next century be any better? It's up to us. God expects it,
the Earth deserves it, human life requires it. This year's seminar
will help youth see how their lifestyles impact the planet and what
they can do to restore God's creation."
Registration cutoff date is when the first 100 registrations are
received or by March 1. Churches sending over four youth are
required to send at least one adviser. Other churches sending less
than four youth are encouraged to send an adviser.
For more information, contact Youth/Young Adult Ministry Office at
email@example.com or at 800 323-8039.
16) Three Church of the Brethren congregations were victims of fire
earlier this year -- Manchester Church of the Brethren, North
Manchester, Ind., Pike Run Church of the Brethren, near Somerset,
Pa., and Faith Church of the Brethren, Batavia, Ill. The following
are updates from Erin Matteson, pastor of the Faith congregation,
and Susan Boyer, pastor of the Manchester church.
Erin Matteson --
It seems unbelievable that this month has marked six months since
the fire at Faith Church. And yet we have been able to accomplish
so much during that time. We assembled a building committee, worked
with Mutual Aid to secure a contractor, named a "volunteer
coordinator" and began work on a vast number of projects.
Since about April, we have cleaned, scrubbed and scrubbed again
soot and ash from walls and rooms. We have painted much of our
downstairs and made some choices on carpeting and linoleum. We have
ordered pew cushions and a pulpit and lectern. We have decided on
doors and lighting and stained glass that needed replacing. And we
continue work on sound system choices, sanctuary doors, entryway
flooring, nursery trimmings and other contents needs.
The God who promises presence and peace has been so very present,
particularly in the churches and community folks who have
surrounded us with money, prayers and a lot of working hands.
Lanark (Ill.) Church of the Brethren even let us deliver our
soot-ridden pews in a trailer and then cleaned and refinished them
all! What a gift!
I could not say enough about how many ways God has moved us,
witnessed to us and allowed us the opportunity to provide growth
and change for others as well. From Habitat to Humanity to young
men who needed to do community service, to community folks who saw
our tragedy in the paper and desired to come over to help, to
Brethren from any number of churches, to many folks from other
nearby churches, to people from Mutual Aid driving all the way from
Kansas. We have had love in action - hands a plenty - scrubbing and
painting alongside us.
I find this pilgrimage of witnessing workers to us ironic, in the
midst of celebrating 50 years of Brethren Volunteer Service, an
organization so devoted to taking the cup of cold water and serving
others in need in so many ways. It has almost been like we have had
a line of BVSers come throughso many volunteers, so much active
Although I would never wish a fire on anyone, it is a powerful
experience to live through this strange cyclical wonder of
grieving, great joy and thanksgiving, discouragement, hope,
surprise, presence and more. It has grown and changed all of us at
Faith Church in deep and real ways as spiritual people and as a
whole congregation. We are much more aware of the district and the
denomination's care for us as a sister church. We are much more
aware of our place in the community and of the other churches great
willingness to support us. We are more aware and thankful of
people's desire to be about service. Hallelujah!
As we continue our work and eagerly pray for the contractor to tell
us we are close to getting a date to "go home," as a pastor I can
not help to look ahead a bit for us as a congregation and ask,
"What will we take from all this? And what will we give back to the
community?" And I have many thoughts.
We at Faith Church have come so far. Some days the cup has seemed
half full. And others it has seemed half-empty. But things are
indeed coming together and finally we feel like we can see the
scope of the remaining project -- the "light at the end of the
tunnel" is in sight. We can not express enough gratitude for the
denomination's support in so many ways.
Yet this chapter in our life is hardly complete. We do have further
to go and keep going we must! We still definitely need all the
support we can find in the weeks ahead. Please, keep us in your
heart, mind and prayers especially over the next two months. Do not
Susan Boyer --
Much has happened in the life of the Manchester Church of the
Brethren since our building burned on Jan. 7. If you travel through
North Manchester you will still see the burned shell of the church.
It is a monument to the destruction we have suffered. But it does
not witness to the amazing things that have happened in the last
We have not moved urgently but deliberately. We are aware as a
congregation that if we move too fast we may have to begin the
process over again. So we have tried to think quickly but with
consideration of our whole church body.
The first month after the fire we focused on the more immediate
concerns -- "Where will we meet for worship? How will we have
Sunday School? What will Love Feast look like?"
We then moved on to envisioning questions -- "What does it mean to
be the Manchester Church of the Brethren in our community? Which of
our neighbors are not being loved? How can we show them God's
Our next step was the question of location -- "Should we stay and
build on the same site or should we move to a new location?" Sept.
20 we took a vote that enables us to buy 25.5 acres and build on
State Road 13.
Now we are heavily into questions of building design. We have hired
a designer/builder and an architect. We are going through a process
over the next several weeks of receiving input from the
congregation on specific ministry areas of the building, such as
worship, education and fellowship.
Those are the deliberate steps we have taken in this process toward
a new building. But there are many other unplanned things that have
just happened by the grace of God.
We have been overwhelmed with the many ways we have been loved and
supported by people within and outside of our denomination. Those
contacts are too numerous to mention. But I do want to lift up some
amazing ways we have deepened relationships.
Immediately after the fire, Manchester College jumped in with
offers of assistance. College representatives helped us deal with
the media and offered us the use of their auditorium for worship.
We meet there every Sunday and often during other times of the
week. It is a generous gift and is given with such hospitality that
we abound with gratitude toward the college. Timbercrest Home
offered us the use of its facilities for events like choir
rehearsals, weekly meetings, women's relief sewing and funeral
dinners. Without these two sister institutions we would not be able
to function with such ease.
The first Sunday that we were without a building was the Sunday of
Butler Chapel AME church's dedication of its new facility in
Orangeburg, S.C. Butler Chapel is the church that was burned by
arson for which the Church of the Brethren Emergency
Response/Service Ministries coordinated the rebuilding. Several
people from our congregation helped rebuild their church after
their fire, including our entire youth group. Jan. 11, as Butler
Chapel dedicated its new building, an offering of $3,000. was
collected to help us rebuild. In August Butler Chapel members
traveled from South Carolina to Indiana and performed a benefit
concert for us. None of us would have guessed that when we traveled
to South Carolina to help them that they would someday travel to
Indiana to help us rebuild.
We also have a sister relationship with Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel
of San Salvador, El Salvador. It is a partnership we have developed
over many years. They also sent us money but more importantly a
deep friendship filled with prayer.
Another sister relationship we have developed because of the fire
is a kinship with the First Brethren Church of North Manchester.
The feelings between our two churches has been difficult and
strained in the past. Because of the fire we have begun to love
each other again. A different person in their congregation prayed
for us every day for 15 minutes from the middle of January through
Easter. Since we have no building they invited us to join them this
summer for a joint Vacation Bible School this summer. We kicked off
that event by having a joint Sunday morning worship service.
Without the fire this never would have happened. It is amazing how
tragedy unites us.
A priest of a Catholic parish in Fort Wayne called me the week
after our fire. The church he serves had burned to the ground
several years before. He said to me, "Someday you will thank God
for the fire and see it as a blessing." At the time I thought he
was a bit crazy. I think I will always see the fire as a tragedy.
I can't imagine ever forgetting the intense grief I felt watching
the flames destroy a place that was sacred for me.
However, I have seen the blessings that have grown out of our
disaster. In some ways we have been refined by fire. We ask more
important questions and we seek more relevant and divine answers.
Our attendance is up substantially. We know just how surrounded we
are by God's presence and the love of our brothers and sisters in
the faith. We don't take the simple things in life for granted
anymore. We dream in more creative ways. We know the church is not
a building but the people who love Jesus. We know in a new way
that we are not in control. But most importantly, the tag line for
our denomination, "Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully.
Simply. Together." is more than just a tag line. It is now a way of
Newsline is produced by Nevin Dulabaum, manager of the Church of
the Brethren General Board's News Services. Newsline stories may be
reprinted provided that Newsline is cited as the source and the
publication date is included.
To receive Newsline by e-mail or fax, call 800 323-8039, ext. 263,
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